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Archives and Library of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.

The Library and the Historical Archives of the Börsenverein are devoted to the comprehensive collection and bibliographic processing of print and non-print materials relating to the German book trade and publishing industry, which are preserved and made available to interested readers. In addition to books and periodicals, the collections also comprise such materials as hand-written documents, portraits and posters. With their extensive holdings, the Archives and the Library of the Börsenverein are among the most important special collections in this field in Germany.

In commemoration of the centenary of its founding, the Börsenverein made the holdings of its library and its historical archives over to the German National Library in 2012. This followed their transfer on permanent loan back in 2002. In return, the German National Library undertook the obligation to maintain and build the collections and to provide all related services. Thus the Archives and the Library of the Börsenverein are now firmly embedded within the context of the national library in keeping with their historical tradition.


Like the Börsenverein itself, the Archives and the Library are part of a long-standing "Leipzig" tradition. The origins of the "Bibliothek des Börsenvereins der Deutschen Buchhändler zu Leipzig" go back as far as 1841. Even in its early years, it contributed significantly to the preservation of non-print documents on the history of the book trade. Founded in 1909, the "Deutsches Buchhandelsarchiv" devoted itself to the collection of non-print materials relating to the economic history of the book trade. Substantial portions of the book and archival collections were destroyed in 1943. The books and documents that were rescued are now preserved at the German Museum of Books and Writing (Deutsches Buch-und Schriftmuseum) of the Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig. The surviving records of the Börsenverein are held at the Sächsisches Staatsarchiv Leipzig. Following the division of the Börsenverein into two separate organisations in Leipzig and Frankfurt after World War II, the process of systematically rebuilding a special library for the book trade was initiated in Frankfurt in 1953. The Historical Archives were founded as a new institution in 1969.

Information Service

In keeping with the traditional distinction between archival and library materials, the Historical Archives collects unprinted documents and non-book print materials relating to the German book trade and its history, whereas the Library collects print publications. Defined in the broadest possible sense, the term "book trade" encompasses all commercial and industrial enterprises involved in the production and dissemination of media: producers, retail and wholesale traders as well as special branches of the book business, including railway station book stores, book clubs, antiquarian book shops and publishers’ representatives, for example.

The information service is devoted primarily to providing information on institutions, companies and individuals in the book trade, both past and present. However, both current and historical materials can also be found in the Archives and the Library of the Börsenverein on such subjects as lending libraries and reader research, printing and typography, structural change and paperback books, periodicals and censorship, to name only a few.

The online information service performs bibliographic research, answers queries regarding content and title registration and offers compilations of literature. All requests processed by the online information service are generally free of charge, unless a request is difficult to answer or time consuming resulting in a working time of more than 15 minutes. This also applies for unsuccessful enquiries ordered by users despite prior notice.
Difficult and time consuming searches will be charged (PDF, 84KB, Barrier-free file) beginning with the 16th minute of working time, EUR 10.00 per every quarter-hour.

Historical Archives

These special archives contain materials pertaining to some 3,000 individuals, corporate organisations and topics of relevance to the German book trade.
Several special collections have been established primarily in the interest of preservation. Some 450 hand-written documents (including correspondence between publishers and authors), over 1,000 images (among them copper engravings bearing the images of book traders and publishers from the 16th to the 19th century), roughly 18,000 publishers’ signets from the 18th to the 20th century, publishers’ posters and posters issued by the Börsenverein as well as 60 linear metres of publishers’ catalogues and brochures. In addition, the Historical Archives maintain a number of personal collections, including the archive of the Verlag Karl Robert Langewiesche of Königstein/Ts., parts of the collection of the Gustav Fischer Verlag and the records of the Märkische Buchhandelsgesellschaft of Frankfurt/Oder as well as materials from the estates of Herbert Grundmann, Horst Kliemann, Annemarie Meiner, Gerhard Menz, Wolfgang Oelbermann, Bertold Spangenberg and others. Apart from these collections of current and historical materials, the Historical Archives hold extensive documentation containing data on specific companies and individuals.

Sammelbestände und Sondersammlungen des Historischen Archivs

Bestände von Organisationen und Unternehmen des deutschen Buchhandels

Bestände persönlicher Provenienz: Nachlässe, Teilnachlässe, Sammlungen

Sammlungen geringeren Umfangs, Typoskripte u.a.


With roughly 25,000 volumes, almost 100 specialized journals and other periodicals, the Library of the Börsenverein and is one of the largest special German libraries in its field. In addition to the primary focus on the book trade and the publishing industry, the Library also collects materials on other subjects relating to books, such as book printing, book design and book collecting. The heart of the collection comprises print materials on trading and publishing companies as well as biographies of publishers and book traders. Important historical sources of information include the complete series of the "Adressbuch des deutschen Buchhandels" dating back to its first publication in 1839, the association journal "Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel" (since 1834) and a large number of historical "Messkataloge" and publishers’ catalogues. The production of many publishing houses are documented in numerous series of publishers’ almanacs. Another important source is the collection of some 27,000 antiquarian book shop and auction catalogues dating primarily from the post-war years.


The collection holdings are provided in the museum reading room for study purposes. Their use is governed by the Conditions of Use of the German National Library.

Last update: 28.07.2017

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